Sunday, March 17, 2013

The Google Maps of the Week


Propublica has created an excellent Google Map to show the locations of homes and businesses that have received Small Business Administration disaster loans following superstorm Sandy.

There is a lot going on in this map. Not only does the the map show the locations of the loan recipients but also overlays flood elevation data on the map so that users can see where loan recipients are most at risk of future flooding.

The map sidebar provides links to zoom the map to specific businesses, counties and towns. When you select a county there is a very nice effect where the county is outlined on the map and displayed in a lighter color.


Birdplot is a really easy to use application that allows anyone to generate an animated heat map of a Twitter hashtag.

If you enter a hashtag term into Birdplot and select a date range you can automatically create an animated heat map that shows when and where people have tweeted about the topic. For example at the moment you could use Birdplot to show where and when people are tweeting '#pope'.

Creating a heat map with Birdplot literally takes a few seconds. All you need to do is enter a hashtag and a date range. The screenshot above is of a heat map I created showing tweets mentioning '#SXSW'. 


Portmanteau.ro has created a nice mapped visualisation that allows users to visualise just how huge Bucharest's Centrul Civic really is by displaying its outline over any other location on Google Maps.

In order to convey the huge scale of the city's communist urban planning Portmanteau.ro allows users to see what the Centrul Civic would look like if it was built in their own towns. For example, in the screenshot above I've attempted to see what the visual effect would be if we replaced San Francisco's wasted empty spaces in the Golden Gate Park with a huge redevelopment of communist concrete buildings.
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